Venezuela donates US$4.6 million for agricultural development in Mali and Burkina Faso
First time a Latin American nation funds FAO projects in other countries
20 March 2007, Rome - The Government of Venezuela has committed US$4.6 million to help FAO strengthen food security in Mali and Burkina Faso through two small-scale irrigation projects, making it the first Latin American country to fund FAO projects in other developing nations, the UN food agency announced today.
The projects will establish small irrigation districts and promote the more rational use of water resources through the use of simple, low-cost technologies – such as human-powered treadle pumps – and better management of rainwater.
“Water is a precious good and a scarce resource in the countries of the Sahel. Its proper use is essential in order to intensify and diversity agricultural production in a sustainable manner,” said Tesfai Tecle, FAO’s Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation.
“This historical contribution from Venezuela will allow us to make progress in combating malnutrition and poverty in rural areas of Africa, and also establishes Venezuela a pioneer as Latin America's first FAO donor,” said Tecle.
He added that the two-year projects are part of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) that FAO is carrying out in these two African countries.
More than 80 percent of the populations of Burkina Faso and Mali rely on agriculture, which is vulnerable to drought. This vulnerability is compounded by continued degradation of natural resources, low agricultural productivity and a lack of diversified income sources.
In Burkina Faso, the project will be undertaken mainly in areas of high climatic risk in the north, central north and the central plateau region. Some 7 500 families, totalling around 45 000 people, will directly benefit.
In Mali, the project area is located in the Mopti area of the Niger River Basin, an area that suffers from a chronic agricultural production deficit. The number of beneficiaries there is estimated at 46 000 persons living in 150 villages, all with limited resources.
Media Relations, FAO (Madrid)
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